collective face


New Member

can anybody help me to understand the expression "collective face" in the following paragraph :
"So he thought the great KGB is not invincible at all. Much as he like to see them fall on their collective face, his malicious pleasure was overshadowed by the fear that they had lost Dickstein permanently."

This paragraph is extracted from the book written by Ken Follet which is entitled "Tripple"

Thank you very much
Michel Arnould
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Here is a definition of fall on one's face:

    fall on one's face: to fail utterly <the movie fell on its face at the box office>

    Does it help?


    Senior Member
    French - France, ♀
    much as he liked (?)

    C'est difficile à traduire mot à mot. Le jeu de mot fait probablement allusion au collectivisme communiste. :)

    Pour le sens de l'expression :
    fall on one's face n'est évidemment pas "collectif".
    Ce serait comme dire en français voir le KGB s'en prendre collectivement plein la tronche/ tomber collectivement la tête la première alors qu'une tronche/ une tête est normalement individuelle.


    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Well, first of all "to fall on one's face" = tomber face contre terre

    Used figuratively, the phrase means basically "to fail."

    "Collective" is, I believe, used the same way in French: Qui concerne une collectivité de personnes (atilf)

    Does that help?
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